I Am That Woman

 photo darkskin.jpg
They call me girl
the colored girl
that woman
the black one
also lady, ma'am,
the N word,
also the B word,
heifer, heffa,
whore, ho,
the C word
the P word.

I am any
woman of color
black, blue black
brown, chocolate
beige, cocoa
sepia, tan. olive
red, redbone,

golden, heather,
auburn tawny,
yellow, yalla, high yalla'

pink, albino….

light, bright
damn near white

I am the color of Flesh.

I look like my daddy
my mama, my brother,
at least two other women
in every town in which
I have ever lived.

I am wrongly taken for women with whom
I share a general description -
mixed grey locks
broad smile).
Men on the street claim I look just like
the woman way cross town
There is always someone
with whom I am, at first glance, interchangeable.

On any given day,
I could be Latifah
the Queen, the
Empress Nina,
the Pharaoh
Nefetari, I could be Miriam,
Mama Africa.
I am Oya,
Oshun, Yemanya,

I am Candace,


I am the Sphinx
The unknown….
The best known….
The well-known….
The widely known….
The little known….

I am Zenobia
grandmother of my grandmother
mother of my father
mother of my mother

I am my father's daughter,
my brother's sister,
my uncle's niece,
my nephew's aunt,
I am cousin's cousin
I am my mother,
I am my husband's wife.

Call me Daughter, Niecee, Auntie,
Sissy, Cuzo,
Sweetie, Honey, Lil' Darlin'
Dumpling, Girl Baby. Girlie

Call me Running Buddy.

I like Queenie,

They know me by my Royal Crowns



Big Brim, stingy brim,
pillboxes, tams,
beanies, skull caps.
gelee'd, rag-tied

They judge me
by my hair or
lack of same.

bunned, braided
waved, weaved,
permed, pressed
gelled, greased
good, bad, nappy,
bushy, finger snap, or

big head or  pea head
big-eyed or pin-eyed
gap-toothed or buck
big-lipped or lipless
loud mouthed or milquetoast
big-bust  tiny titty
big butt  flat butt,
big-legged, skinny-legged,
big-footed, and all.

They called me The Hottentot Venus.
I am Sara Baartman.

I look like the woman
I have to be sometime;
like a somebody in disguise;
like the woman in my mind;
like the street poet
that I am.

They liken me to fruits:
Peaches, Cherry,
the blackest berry
or flowers;
Rose, Petunia, Daisy,
Black-eyed Susan
and, too, trees that are black;
Ebony, Mahogany.

They call  Mammy, Jemima, Minnie,
Belle, Bessie, Beulah,
Sally, Sarah, Saphronia.

I am Sapphire,

I am Amber, Opal, Ruby,
Pearl,, Diamond, Turquoise

I am Precious
They call me Patience,
Hope, Charity, Faith,
I am the one they were
waiting for; often I am
the one unseen.

Invisible woman?

I am the Truth,
the Rock, the Boulder
the breast, the shoulder,
The Wind
beneath every lifted arm.

I am all the names
ending in an A,
an I, an O, a U.

and all the letters
I have not named.

I am the Sphinx
I am older
than I look,
than I feel,
taller than many
shorter than I
want to be.

Call me Lucy.
I began at the beginning.
I am still
in every measure of time
in everything that is ….

I am the host
of a host of women.
I claim them all.
I am the stranger
everybody sees
nobody knows.
I am the you in you.

Yes, I am that Woman -
the one that you are.
I am the one you will
always be.

-Sojourner Kincaid Rolle

Sojourner Kincaid Rolle is a poet, playwright and cultural activist. She is the author of Black Street (Center for Black Studies Research, 2009) and Common Ancestry (Mille Grazie Press, 1999).